It's ugly, dirty - and costing us tens of thousands of dollars a year across the Western Bay. In a special series on illegal rubbish dumping, we examine how our councils are trying to fight illegal tipping - and meet good people aiming to help clean up our region.

Mount Maunganui businesses are offering people free coffee for a bucket of rubbish.

Morgan Schofield started the scheme after posting a message on the Keep Mauao Clean Facebook page encouraging businesses to offer a free product to people who collected litter.

Have You Been? Cafe in Mount Maunganui was the first to offer free coffee but had since closed. However, more businesses had come on board, including Pronto, Fish Face and a mobile pizza van Diego's Pizza.

"I have seen quite a few businesses going plastic straw free now too," Schofield said.

Schofield said people were becoming more environmentally conscious.


"You can't go anywhere without realising the importance of human impact particularly around rubbish and plastic."

The businesses that take part in the initiative advertise the offer on a blackboard outside their premises and a bucket which people can use to collect litter in the area, to get a free coffee.

Schofield was covering the cost of the blackboards and buckets but encouraged other businesses to donate as well.

"It is about $15 for a board and a bucket," she said. "I can't keep doing that but other businesses can."

Pronto Mount Maunganui manager Taryn Jackson she jumped on board after Schofield approached her about the initiative.

"We have buckets that people can take away on their walks around the Mount or at the beach," Jackson said.

The manager said Pronto began the free-coffee offer last month and regular customers were bringing in buckets full of waste in exchange for caffeine.

"We see a lot of rubbish such as takeaway cups and napkins, and it is just an easy way to do our part," Jackson said.

"It is just an easy way to make sure everyone is keeping clean and tidy."

Pronto's sister business, Fish Face, went plastic-straw free recently, and their burger restaurant would follow suit soon.

"It takes a long time for a straw to decompose," Jackson said. "It is there forever and is an unnecessary waste. There is no need for a straw."

Jackson said the restaurant saw first-hand how many straws, napkins and takeaway cups were used each week. "We go through a few packs of straws a day," she said. "We would love to become straw-free, but people want their straws for milkshakes and fizzy drinks."

Diego Pessoa, of Diego's Pizza, was offering a free slice of pizza for people who bring a supermarket bag full of rubbish from the beach.

Customers who bought a pizza and brought in two bags of rubbish were given a free pizza.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief Stan Gregec said the free coffee offer for rubbish collection was a "fantastic community gesture by Mount cafes. "It's a brilliant way to show support for your community and to do good."

Tauranga business development expert Max Mason said people with similar values would enjoy being part of a business that was proactively helping the environment.

"I would be happy to pay an extra 50c for a coffee if I knew they were having that campaign for a bucket of rubbish," the Tauranga City Councillor and Envirohub trustee said. "What is good for the planet is good for business."

Inex Tucker, Pronto owner Cezar Brando, Alan Montefiore and girlfriend Jerusha Tucker picked up rubbish in exchange for a free coffee. Photo/George Novak
Inex Tucker, Pronto owner Cezar Brando, Alan Montefiore and girlfriend Jerusha Tucker picked up rubbish in exchange for a free coffee. Photo/George Novak

SIDE BAR: 'I can't walk past it'

Jerusha Tucker said her mum, Inex Tucker, and boyfriend, Alan Montefiore, made a day of it to collect rubbish for a free coffee at Pronto.

The 24-year-old said she had picked up numerous plastic bags, polystyrene and about 10 clear plastic Pump bottle lids from Pronto to the boardwalk at the base of Mauao and around the base track.

"I found it really satisfying," Tucker said. "Once you start you can't really stop noticing the rubbish."

The 24-year-old said her boyfriend also picked up a tin barrel full of beer bottles that had been left lying around.

The marine studies student at Toi Ohomai was working towards a degree in biological science and said it was nice to be rewarded for something that she felt was her duty.

"It was an incentive for something I already morally feel I am obligated to do," Tucker said.

Tucker said she would pick up rubbish involuntary. "I can't walk past it."

To join the movement, people can visit